04/26/2006

Mass. officer's child fires shot in station

Mary Jo Hill, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
 
Copyright 2006 Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

LEOMINSTER 
 
The 7-year-old son of a city police officer fired his father's service weapon inside the police station, said Police Chief Peter F. Roddy.

The bullet went into a ceiling, but nobody works in the area above the ceiling, he said.

"We are very lucky nobody was injured," Chief Roddy said.

The boy's father and three other police officers were in the room at the time of the accidental discharge, which happened Thursday, Chief Roddy said.

The officer, whom the chief would not identify, was off duty when he stopped by the station around 1:30 p.m. with his son on a school vacation day, the chief said.

While in an isolated, "non-public" portion of the building, the officer wanted to show someone a demonstration model of a holster for his service revolver, a semi-automatic SigSauer P226, the chief said.

As a safety precaution, the officer unloaded the gun, then handed it and the holster to another officer, Chief Roddy said.

When the officer took back the gun, he reloaded it by putting in the magazine, closing the chamber, and releasing one bullet into the chamber, the chief said. The officer then ejected the magazine, he said.

He placed the gun down, and while he was busy loading the magazine, his son picked up the gun and fired it, Chief Roddy said.

His father told him, "You know better than that," Chief Roddy said.

The boy responded that he did not know the gun was loaded, the chief said.

"The young boy touched the weapon when he shouldn't have and it went off," Chief Roddy said.

The incident scared the child, he said.

It is standard procedure for Leominster officers to have a bullet loaded into the chamber of their service weapons, Chief Roddy said.

An internal investigation is being done into the incident, the chief said, adding that the officer in question is very safety-conscious.

Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella said the important thing is that nobody was hurt.

"Obviously, they're looking into the matter, and that is standard procedure," the mayor said. 

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